5 Backyard Chicken Keeping Myths - Busted!

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 06 December 2017

Considering keeping a fabulous flock of beautiful backyard chickens? You may have heard some nasty gossip that has put you off becoming a super cool Chook Lady or Hen Lad. Don’t despair, we are here to get you back on cluckin’ track with your coop dreams! Chickens really do make fantastic pets for the young and the young at heart and we’re here to bust the most bogus of chicken keeping myths that we’ve come across.

australorp in clean chicken coop run

1. Chickens are smelly

Fowl doesn’t equal foul! Chickens are actually clean animals that like to preen, primp and dust bathe several times a day. Their level of smelliness is based on how well they’re looked after. Keep their bedding fresh, their run floor free of droppings, use diatomaceous earth to soak up any ammonia smells and don’t overcrowd your coop and run. Your hens will stay fresh as a daisy if given the right care.

pekin chicken in backyard 2. Chickens are noisy

Some chooks like to chin-wag, it’s true! But chattiness really depends on the chicken breeds in question. Most chook chatter is a cute, soft babble that can’t be heard on the other side of the garden. Some of the most quiet and docile breeds are Orpingtons, Pekin Bantams and Rhode Island Reds. Roosters, of course, love an early morning crow so most local councils don't allow them to be kept for this reason.

white chicken on patio chair

3. Chickens are dumb

Chickens aren’t just a bunch of bim-birds that aimlessly shuffle about your back garden. A pet chicken can learn tricks, come when called, show a level of self-awareness and even count! The anything but ordinary gallus gallus domesticus has a large range of physical communication methods and at least 24 distinct vocalisations. The eyes of a chicken possess one more colour cone than ours, so they can see a wider range of colours and shades than us. Groovy girls!

baby chick hunting grub in backyard

strong>4. Chickens are boring

Last weekend, while your cat was napping the day away and your dog was still chasing his tail in an endless loop, your future chickens had an epic backyard adventure. Having a few chooks in your garden is endlessly entertaining. Their unique personalities are diverse and charming. They are curious and funny and will reward your observation of them with silly little jumps, dinosaurian bug hunting skills and charmingly cheeky moments of avian affection and pecking order squabbles.   

woman hugging chicken in backyard

5. Chickens are unfriendly

The idea of a mother hen is a cliché for a good reason. Chickens are empathetic creatures that dutifully care for and comfort their young. Research has shown that when a baby chick shows distress its mother hen does too. Mumma chooks will coo and cluck to their eggs as they develop, just as human mothers will sing or talk to their baby bumps. If your pet chicken is docile and so inclined, a human chicken friendship can blossom with treats, affection and familiarity. Pretty soon you’ll have a flock of devoted hens that will potter around behind you as you tackle your backyard chores. You may even get a hen hug or two!

When it comes to chicken keeping, we can confidently say that it will be one of the best backyard pet choices you’ll ever make. But if you still need convincing, then have a peck at 3 of the best reasons to keep these feathered friends here.

Sources and further reading.